The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) established a program for the relocation and reuse of the state's metal truss bridges in 1978. The program began with the completion of a statewide inventory and evaluation of metal truss bridges, sponsored jointly by NCDOT and the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources (Division of Archives and History). The results of this study were published in North Carolina's Metal Truss Bridges: An Inventory and Evaluation. Upon completion of the study, thirty-four metal truss bridges were determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
NCDOT's Bridge Relocation and Reuse Program is pro-active and designed to develop alternatives to demolition for historic truss bridges scheduled for replacement. Among these strategies are donations of bridges to new owners, assistance with disassembly and relocation, storage in a bridge yard until a new owner can be identified, and preservation in place. NCDOT maintains a directory of individuals and organizations interested in obtaining a bridge and works to match these requests with available bridges that are in suitable condition. While many of these bridges are no longer sufficient for highway use, the truss bridges may continue to serve pedestrian, bicycle, and restricted vehicular traffic off the state system.
When it is necessary to replace metal truss bridges that have become functionally obsolete and cannot be maintained to meet current design standards, NCDOT has actively sought alternatives to demolition for the state's historic bridges. The Bridge Relocation and Reuse Program has played an important role in retaining these historic structures. The efforts of the program ensure that these once popular and distinctive bridges will continue to exist and be used in the twenty-first century.